Author: Kristin Cashore
Series: Graceling Realm
Graceling was a superb novel that had me falling in love fast. It had a little bit of everything that I want in a book. I was anxious to read Fire and see if it lived up to the standard set by Graceling. Even though Fire was a wonderful book, there was something I can’t quite name that held it back from being a 5 star book.
Fire is considered a monster because of her bright and colorful hair. She’s able to influence the minds and feelings of those around her through the power of her mind and her exceptional beauty. She’s never quite sure if people like her for her or if it is because she is a monster. She becomes wrapped up in the fight over the kingship of her land, all the while learning that she’ll never truly feel comfortable with people unless she opens up and trusts how others feel.
Growing up knowing she’s a monster, with an evil man for a father and never knowing if she will ever have true friends has left a mark on Fire. She’s guarded and unsure of people, even with the confidence she has in herself most of the time. She trusts very few people and see’s her beauty as a burden instead of a gift. She saw how the power made her father into a force that people feared and she doesn’t want that for herself. It’s hard for her to see herself as different from her father, though, when the same things that made him that way are the things that draw people to her. She feels like she needs to make up for her father’s actions, but thinks she can never do enough to do that.
She goes to aid the king in figuring out the plots against him and his throne and ends up becoming wrapped up in the royal family. They want her to use her gifts to find out what secrets and plots are formed, but she feels like this is breaking her personal rules against invading and influencing the minds of others. It’s too close to what her father did, even though he did it for personal reasons and she is being asked to do it to try and make the coming war shorter.
The romance in this book was just as wonderful as in Graceling. It has a slow build and doesn’t jump right into love. The relationship starts out extremely rocky, but a trust and friendship grows first. All the build-up made that final moment even sweeter. Fire’s feelings about herself and others cause her to doubt what others feel and that made the tension even better. Not only does Fire have to come to trust what others feel about her, but Cashore wrote so well that the reader has to feel that growth as well.
There wasn’t as much action in this book; a lot of it took place outside the setting of the novel. But there’s intrigue and deception to make up for that. Even though the story was just as interesting to me as Graceling, there still felt like there was something missing and I’m not entirely sure what that is. My heart wasn’t pounding quite as hard with Fire.
Even with that missing something, Fire is still an amazing book. It’s a different story from Graceling, yet it has the same feel and same fantasy elements that made me love the book in the first place. Fire is a perfect companion novel to Graceling and can be read as part of the series or as its own novel. It’s definitely worth a read, especially if you liked Graceling. I already have Bitterblue in my hands and can’t wait to start reading.